Tetris Skillz

Dearest Rachel –

“Use your Tetris skills!” Jeff says.

You have no idea how much I miss you right now.

There must be about a dozen of us here, guys coming straight from the Saturday morning Bible study, to help a couple move out. All this stuff is going into storage, at least for the time being.

Jeff had sent out a request through the group email a few days ago. It’s not the sort of thing I would’ve answered once upon a time, and even now, I know that Daniel and the dog need to be taken care of. But since I’m already heading out on Saturday morning and they’re both sleeping when I leave, they should be good for a few hours yet. Besides, I suppose it would do my soul good to help out among the community.

I know all too well that you would’ve jumped to participate with this, I’m pretty sure. How many times, after all, did you help Kirsten move back and forth between one home and another, and her storage unit(s)? This is the sort of thing, while you may not have necessarily lived for, you felt at home doing.

And the idea of doing Furniture Tetris would’ve been just the thing to get your blood running. You loved packing things into tiny little spaces that they had no business fitting into. Jan and I can vouch for that.

It’s a fairly straight drive from the Randhurst campus – up Rand, and over on Thomas. Except it turns out that Thomas is completely torn up and under construction. It’s that time of year, after all; if it isn’t winter, it’s construction season. You just never know where it’s going to be.

Most of the heavy lifting is being done bucket brigade style; where one person takes a box out of the house, hands it off to someone on the landing, who hands it to another person at the bottom, who hands it to a person outside, who carries it to the truck, and gives it to Jeff to try to figure out where to fit it in.

They have a playlist of Christian music going while we’re working. He gets to this one, and I just stop.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died, my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat

“Jesus Paid It All,” Kristian Stanfill

I wonder what songs your lips are repeating at this moment?

Posing to dictate to Siri does not go unnoticed. I’ve had a few people come up to me, and ask if I’m all right. In retrospect, I don’t quite know how to answer that, any more than I’m able to suitably answer “how are you doing?” these days. For the purposes of the move, however, I just respond with “yeah, I’ll be with you in a minute,” stuff the phone in my back pocket, and jump back into the fray.

As it so happens, Jenny, the female of the couple who we’re moving, is talking into her watch at the same time as I’m attempting to dictate the draft of this letter. Evidently, her ex has chosen now, of all moments, to ask her about something having to do with their kids, after a considerable amount of time; I don’t know any more details than that, except that she seems annoyed at his timing. So I could easily be saying, the next time someone asks if I’m okay, that “oh, I’m just talking to my wife,” but that just might open up another whole can of worms.

The truck is getting pretty close to being full now, and I have to take another picture:

While I’m standing there, Jeff asks me if I like the Cubs. I can barely get out the answer before Oracio interrupts that I absolutely hate them. He’s joking, of course.

I tell him about the time you suggested we plant a ‘W’ flag at Grandmother’s grave, because she was the one who got me into the Cubs in the first place. And of course, there’s so much more to the story – such as the fact that it was then that you told us all where you wanted your ashes to be scattered, and when Dad raised objections to the concept, you invited him and Mom to the island to show him where it was that you wanted to end up, and why it was so special – but I don’t have the time to tell him, nor can I keep myself together in order to do so.

It turns out that the reason he’s asking is that he has tickets for tomorrow’s game, and would I like to come see it with him. I have to admit that I’m working in the booth this weekend, and I’m not available. He promises to give me more warning next time around.

I honestly can’t remember if we ever did get a chance to go to a Cubs game. I can’t quite picture it, but I’m fairly certain we must have back when we were part of the SingleMinded group at church, because I think I remember you and me chuckling over the fact that the playing of “Go, Cubs, Go” after a game – specifically, a victory – as the crowd filed out of Wrigley Field seemed like nothing so much as the recessional at the end of a traditional church service. It’s not that far out of line, if you think about it – more than once I’ve heard of places like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park being referred to as ‘temples’ of baseball, and a recessional at the end of the ‘service’ is an appropriate touch to such a tradition-soaked place.

Just as I think it’s finished, the apartment is empty, Jenny directs me to a back stairwell, and the storage unit in the basement. Here, there’s more stuff that everybody’s hauled up from there that’s still left to be packed in. Jeff brings the truck around, and backs it into the rear parking lot.

You should be able to see how narrow that passage is and how long – he has to pass by a whole other building in order to get where it’s now parked – Jeff had to back that thing up. Color me impressed.

But again, with twelve to fifteen guys there, the trips back and forth to finish loading it up or fairly quick. All in all, the job has taken slightly more than an hour.

I’m beginning to regret wearing a black T-shirt, and several others are regretting that decision on my behalf as well. Apparently, I’m making them sweat just by looking at me.

At this point, one of the younger guys talks about heading home, since he lives closer to where we are now than where they need to move this stuff. I take that as permission to go home – I live even farther away from their destination, as it so happens, and I still do need to check on both Daniel and the dog – and get in the car and head out.

As I not accustomed to doing this, I don’t think to let Jeff know that I’m heading out, and I wind up having to answer a couple of text messages later on as I’m picking breakfast up for Daniel. At least he’s gracious about it, acknowledging that there’s still plenty of guys left to unpack when they get to their destination.

And for what it’s worth, that’s what my rather unusual morning was like. It’s the sort of thing you would’ve wanted to have been a part of, and it always hurts to consider that fact.

But at least things still get done, even without your help. Life goes on. That’s the way things are.

Take care of yourself, honey. Love you.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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